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The future of Linux in the mobile phone industry

What strategies do you currently see for the hand set industry employing Linux technology?
Linux is likely to have a very bright future in the mobile phone industry -- specifically, the class of mobile phones that are considered smart phones. Motorola currently holds the torch for Linux on mobile phones in the U.S. market and has developed a unique platform called Moto Juix for its high functionality phones that is based on a melding of Java and Linux technologies. While volume of the smart phone market (13 million units expected to ship worldwide in 2003) pales in comparison to the volume of the traditional mobile phone (469 million units expected to ship worldwide in 2003), and probably will for decades, the worldwide market for smart phones will greatly expand in the coming years, and with it, the presence of Linux.

For Motorola, which is working to trim the number of different platforms it uses to power its mobile phones, the open Linux platform means faster development cycles and a reduced time-to-market. It also means lower development costs, the ability to launch new integrated applications very quickly and the flexibility to tailor the look and feel of the phone's interface and applications to its customers' needs. Not all of that is entirely possible with competing evolved platform such as Symbian, Windows Mobile or Palm OS. Linux, however, is not just for the highly functional phones. The majority of the world's mobile phones -- the non data-enabled, classic variety -- are typically powered by operating systems that are proprietary in nature, and often specific to individual handset vendors. Many of these OSs have derivatives of Linux at their core.

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